Why I don’t ride a bicycle here!

Me 2014 in TN

It is ¡Muy pelagrosa!  That is “Very dangerous!” Just see the 30 second video in this Tico Times article (WARNING: It is graphic pain!) Scroll down to 2nd photo with video arrow to click:


That was in nearby Alajuela to which I ride the big safe bus! Right here in Atenas one day I walked across the Central Park and watched a pickup plow into a motorcycle, which is even more dangerous. I get my exercise walking as long as my feet are working alright. I miss biking, but common sense safety on exceptionally narrow roads and streets make it not practical for me here. “Driver Education” is just now being introduced here, so most adults driving here have no training and that includes the taxi drivers! This guy in the video is in BIG TROUBLE! He will lose his taxista job, possibly his driver license, and possibly have to pay medical bills for the three that slammed into him.

Happier Photos of the Festival de Luz in San Jose  –   I reported earlier that I missed the one here in Atenas and haven’t seen any photos online of the Atenas parade, but here are a few pix from the same parade in San Jose.  Most towns have one as the beginning of Christmas celebrations. I won’t miss it next year!


Tour de Atenas? And Bingo!

Some of the hundreds of bikes going by my house for more than an hour today.

I’m not sure what it is, but they don’t act like they are racing but rather completing a tour. For 30 minutes it was almost bumper to bumper bikes then the stragglers continued for an hour or two more. Participants are mostly Tico or local people with a few expats included. You see these large groups of spandex-clad bikers occasionally around here, usually on weekends and even out on the highways and rural roads. While during the week bikers are working people with baskets making deliveries or just getting to work, etc. Neither the town’s narrow streets or the narrow highways are safe for casual or transportation lone bikers, plus we are all hills which makes it difficult as well as dangerous. It is rare to see children biking the streets and neither kids nor teens bike to school. They all walk to school! Like me! 🙂 As much as I like biking, I think I will still to walking and maybe live longer.

After church online in Nashville I went to the Catholic church for another Bingo experience with other Su Espacio Spanish students. This time more students came, two tables full! A lot of fun. I report with photos in my new Español blog Aprendo Español en Atenas, titled Bingo a los números de práctica and I’m getting better with my numbers in spanish!

My table of 7 was one of two tables of students from Su Espacio this time.
Me and David are missing from the photo of this table.

Tico food and drinks are available for sale and this time I ate a big piece of pineapple cornbread with a Pepsi. Nope, I’m not doing without my sugar fixes here! Dulce is the name for sweets here.  🙂

They just call the numbers (No B-16, N-23 like in states) and we have a bowl of corn kernals on the table to mark our numbers. Susan was the only one of our group (1st on left above) who had a winning card but there were two winners and one prize. There was a drawing and she lost the draw. But the prizes are nothing to write home about!

My Health Improves in Costa Rica!

At my target weight now!
First time in 30+ years!

After 6 months in Costa Rica I decided to buy bathroom scales for fear I was gaining weight instead of losing or staying at a healthy level. After all, I have been eating a lot here and learned that Ticos have a sweet tooth like me. Who can resist Tres Leches or Coconut Flan? So at the Alajuela Walmart I got a nice looking glass scales similar to what I had in Nashville. I bring it home and weigh for a pleasant surprise! I am averaging between 173-175 which is what the charts say I should weigh for my height, etc. 173-175. In the morning I am closer to 173 and by night closer to 175. I tried to reach that in the states all of 2014 but usually stayed between 180-185, which was better than the 200 pounds the year before!

One of my favorite dinners is a green salad with Avocado
slices (a whole one this time but sometimes a half), a big 
glass of water and a fruit fresca made from pulp concentrate
this time, but sometimes fresh fruit in blender – yummy! 
And sometime I add a dash of bottled Sangria or 7up. Salad is
seasoned with fresh-squeezed limon and herbal seasoning in 
that little shaker bottle at top. 1 slice of whole grain toast and 
a little guava marmalade for the last bits of toast not finished
with the salad. Reasonable dessert! Some days I have saltine
crackers with either salad or soup. I do cook chicken, fish, and 
some pork with vegetables and/or salad. Eating out less now.
I’m doing okay with homemade veggie soup and gallo pinto
a special Costa Rican seasoned beans and rice, and I’ve always
done great scrambled eggs as a messed up omelet!  🙂 And 
unless after dark, I eat all meals outside on my balcony. 
Which I think is also a healthy addition to my life! And that
black book is my Kindle Fire, my companion for most
meals! I’ve read more than 20 books in 6 months!  

To what do I contribute this? The same two things most people do, eating and exercise. I eat more fresh fruits an vegetables here than I did in Nashville, even living for 10 years across the street from Nashville Farmers’ Market. We have no American fast food restaurants in Atenas! Nada! Now, I can get a burger, pizza, or fried chicken from some Tico restaurants, but rarely do; only pizza or a good hamburguesa. I haven’t had fried chicken in many years! Don’t like it anymore, though popular here, especially with the young. I’m also learning to eat more sensible sized portions most of the time though some restaurants don’t help there, but now I’m eating at home more and that helps.

The best thing to happen to me exercise-wise was to decide not to buy a car, though the temptation pops up every once-in-a-while. I walk almost everywhere in town and when I take a bus to San Jose or Alajuela I walk most places when I get there. I’m averaging 3 to 6 miles every day. Part of the key there is “every day.” If I get a large order of groceries, then I take it back by taxi for about $2, but I’m learning to grocery shop little at a time every-other day which gives me more exercise as I can carry smaller loads and I have fresher stuff!

Walking 3 to 6 miles every day is maybe the healthiest thing
I do or at least equal with eating better. And yes I mostly walk
in sandals, but sometimes tennis shoes. My dress shoes may 
never get worn here! Tennis shoes are hot and sweaty! That
leads to athlete’s foot, so sandals better in the tropics for me, 
except for some hiking and even some yard work.   

I am still debating a bicycle which would be quicker than walking and still be good exercise. The two negatives are the one big “killer hill” between Roca Verde and downtown AND the narrow streets with sometimes sloppy drivers of cars. It could be dangerous! Peligroso! So I keep walking!   And probably will not get a bike.


  1. I have Costa Rican Private Health Insurance and got to cancel that expensive U.S. Medigap insurance. A big savings!
  2. I have a private practice doctor who speaks good English. (Sorry! Meant to get a photo of her office with an ambulance out front. Her assistant is an EMT, so they can come get me if they need too!)  🙂 I have heard that most of the government doctors speak English too when I eventually go on that program next year. But hope I’m speaking Spanish by then!
  3. Hospitals are all highly rated throughout Costa Rica at half the U.S. prices! Everything from heart surgery to cancer treatment is done here with great competence. I feel secure.
  4. Few weather extremes in our Atenas “perfect climate” which contributes to good health.
  5. Less stress than in the States and not having a car helps with that even more!  🙂 Actually, driving here is the most stressful activity I have done and it can be as stressful as in the states, though maybe people get used to it. Well, opening a bank account was a little stressful, but I’m getting used to bureaucratic paperwork now and to just “go with the flow!”
  6. Surrounded by nature. My cure for everything!  🙂
  7. A relaxed, laid-back culture helps one to slow down and “go with the flow.”
  8. I have slowly tapered myself off the drugs U.S. doctors gave me, first to sleep at night, I’m now using simple, healthy herbs to help with sleep. I get that from one of the local Macrobioticas or health-food (supplements) stores here. Feeling better and sleeping as good! Also stopped all the allergy meds and doing fine without them! (Sorry! Meant to get a photo of my favorite Macrobiotica at the Central Market.)
  9. But eating healthier and walking a lot are still the main reasons for my better health here. I turn 75 Saturday and expect to live a whole lot longer here!  🙂

SOMETHING NEW: I’m finding it harder to write without using some Spanish (or Costa Rican) words. So you will know, I am going to try and put all Spanish (Costa Rican) words in red. Tell me if that is distracting or helpful.